Writing is a challenging pursuit at the best of times, even when everything else in life is going smoothly.
Realistically, how often is that the case?
Most authors don’t have the luxury of a relaxing, optimized writing environment, free from the stress of everyday life, where they can sit and produce their best work without any outside interference.
The more likely scenario is an author seeking ways to devote energy and effort to their work amidst the stress and struggle of everyday life.
Given that life is a beautiful struggle, and amidst it all we have chosen to write, I hope you find some inspiration and support from the following three ideas.
Use The Minimum Amount Of Pressure Possible
Often, the negative feelings we experience stemming from our writing are due to the pressure we put on ourselves.
This pressure can take a number of forms. Perhaps you set particular targets for your writing which you haven’t met. Perhaps you poured your heart and soul into a project, only for it to experience results that weren’t what you hoped for. Perhaps you decided to try a new style of writing which you haven’t found as enjoyable or fruitful as you hoped.
No matter the reason for the pressure we feel, it often ends up being counterproductive. Feeling bad and beating yourself up often feels like the ‘right’ thing to do, even though it isn’t.
Instead, I advocate that you use the smallest amount of pressure possible that will produce your desired results. Give yourself permission to sit for a period of time, and consider it a success, no matter how many words you produce. Give yourself permission to switch targets from what you originally set out to achieve.
When we reduce the emotional and mental pressure we feel, we free up our mind to focus on finding solutions that really work.
Draw Inspiration From Uncommon Sources
Sometimes, to start feeling at ease with writing, we just need a fresh perspective and source of inspiration which allows our creativity to flow freely once again.
Inspiration can come in many forms. Some of the following ideas and methods have proved helpful to myself and countless others, and may be something you wish to try for yourself –
- Try a writing exercise. This can be an exercise you find somewhere, or one you come up with for yourself. You can find some good writing exercises here, here and here. You can also come up with your own challenge such as ‘go to a coffee shop, and write a few pages about some of the people you see’. Sometimes, a small exercise is all that it takes to reset your writing mind and unleash your inner ideas.
- Consider writing something totally outside of your comfort zone. Often, our frustration when writing comes from the feeling that we ‘should’ be better than we are, because we have chosen a certain area of writing that matters to us. One way to escape this problem is to choose something totally new. You can do this by picking randomly from a list of writing styles, using a Scrivener template for a new type of writing if you use that particular tool, or trying to imitate the style of a famous writer, purely for fun.
It’s common to find enjoyment and novelty from writing something totally outside of your comfort zone. This can reset your ability and enthusiasm for the type of writing that really matters to you.
Recharge Spiritually and Emotionally
Sometimes, it’s important to realize we are all flawed human beings do the best we can with what we have. Writing and other forms of creative expression are important, but they aren’t all that life has to offer.
You aren’t a machine. The events of your life inevitably have an impact on your creativity and output. Sometimes, you just need to recharge emotionally and spiritually before returning to writing. Don’t feel guilty. Even top athletes need rest and recuperation to produce their peak performance.
Some of the techniques that have been proven to work for many include –
- Prayer. No matter what this word means to you, prayer can be a source of solace and comfort. A lot of prayerful writers find that this is the number one way of refuelling their creative energy at times of trouble.
- Spending time in nature. It’s been scientifically proven that spending time in nature can help us relax, destress and come back to our work with a new level of energy. This could be as elaborate as taking a trip to somewhere unspoiled or as simple as sipping a coffee in your local park.
- Letting your struggles out. This can take the form of getting all of your thoughts and feelings down on paper, in order to stop ruminating on them, or venting in person to a trusted friend or confidante. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s stronger to suffer alone, when in actual fact sharing your troubles is often the most effective thing you can do.
Ease Your Writing Life In 3 Simple Steps
You might find that the ideas found here aren’t all needed to help you ease your strife. You might wish to change them, or do something else entirely. For me, I think of it as a 3 step process, summarized as –
- Lower The Pressure
- Draw Inspiration
- Recharge My Spiritual Battery
The key is to not feel stuck if you are struggling. Try something, anything, and the very act of seeking a solution will often end up helping in and of itself.
‘This is a guest post by Dave Chesson, who helps teach authors advanced book marketing tactics at Kindlepreneur.com. His most recent project is the Book Marketing Show, Dave’s contribution to the world of publishing podcasts.’